Using a Story Chain to Predict and a Character Map to Analyze Relationships in Of Mice and Men

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SWBAT predict events in Chapter 2 by using a Story Chain and then identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the elements of characterization in fiction by reading text and completing a characterization template.

Big Idea

Using graphic organizers such as a Story Chain and Character Map helps students engage in predicting and critical thinking.


15 minutes


In the beginning of the year I explained to my class that Fairness doesn't mean that everyone in the class will be treated equally but will be given what they need to succeed. This may mean a slightly different assignment or assessment.  I felt it important to address any misunderstandings of what my differentiated class will look like and that I was going to provide the supports necessary for all levels of student ability to succeed.  

Students arrive to class, pick up their folders and are given Of Mice and Men Chapter 1 Quiz A or B to complete at their desks.  The quiz assess students comprehension of the order of the events in the chapter RL.9-10.5.  My students are now accustomed to see other students get an adapted assessment or reading assignment based on their learning needs.  Quiz B is differentiated in that it has the pages the answers to the questions can be located.  Quiz B is given to those students who I think need this additional support due to their reading and/or emotional needs RL.9-10.10

After the quiz I facilitate a round robin reporting out of answers, or choosing students equally in order from left to right seating arrangement. While reporting out students correct their own papers and pass them in to me after the activator.

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

I explain to my students that because some of them have either read parts of and are familiar with this story's events, we will be skimming through chapters to focus on deeper meanings of Steinbeck's novella.  I then say, "Today we will first be focusing on character development while analyzing the developing friendships of these different characters" RL.9-10.3.  I then ask the questions:

  • Does anyone in the class have a friendship like Lennie and George? 
  • Does the friendship work well? Why do you continue the friendship? 
  • Is anyone in a relationship that they continue because they are afraid of being alone?

After a few minutes of group discussion I then say, "Yesterday we discussed the friendship between Lennie and George, however throughout the novel you will be introduced to many other characters.  During your reading today and tonight, I want you to think about how the other characters that are introduced feel about George and Lennie’s relationship and how their friendship is helping them survive this migrant worker lifestyle."

Next I pass around a Character map (copied on both sides) and ask students to write Lennie's name on one side and George's name on the other side.

I will select passages for the students and myself to read and then ask questions that provoke students to think about George and Lennie.  I first read, “Guys like us…and that’s why” (p. 15) and then ask:

  • What does this passage say about their friendship?  
  • We learned about migrant workers, why do you think that these two friends continue to travel with each other when it is detrimental to George’s ability to make a good living? Do you think he is afraid of being alone?

After a brief discussion I then ask the class to begin filling in their character maps using this quote or any other quote they choose which define both George and Lennie RL.9-10.1.  As students find a quote and fill in the appropriate boxes I circulate among them putting a "blue dot" on their maps for on task behavior.

 Read Out - Call Out

Student(s) stand and read one description or phrase from their map. Listeners call out the character being described.  This strategy supports listening and active participation by all students.  I act as the "checker" putting a check next to student's names that call out the character being described. 

Student Learning Activity

35 minutes


I next explain that after analyzing the relationships between tow of the novella's main characters we will predict based on words and phrases what they think will happen in the next chapter.  

Predictions are thoughts about what students think will happen in the story before they read. I first explain to the students that a prediction is more than just a guess.  It should make sense with the clues they have been given in the story chain.  I  like this Story Chain template because it can help students to focus on the clues given by the vocabulary words and then analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text and order events within it will create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise RL.9-10.5. You would design your own chain with the words or phrases which pertain to the reading.  

I know some of my students “kind of” know the story and its plot but this will help them make connections about what they already know to what they think they know.  My hope is that it will get them excited about what they will be reading.

I begin this activity by asking students to predict events in Chapter 2  by filling out a Story/Chain/Guess vocabulary sheet.  As they are completing the task I circulate among the students asking and answering questions while encouraging them to complete the assignment.

I facilitate reporting out using the docucamera to project a student's story chain on a screen as it is read.

Next students are instructed to read Chapter 2 while comparing how accurate their predictions were as well as adding information to their character maps about the two main characters,  RL.9-10.3.  



Wrap Up

5 minutes

I ask for a volunteer to explain what parts of their predictions were accurate and what parts do not match the actual events in chapter 2. 

For homework I tell those students who did not finish reading chapter 2 to finish the reading while comparing their predictions to the actual events. They will be given a chapter 2 quiz during tomorrow's activator.